Jesus says, just as I have loved you, you should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you have a love for one another.
For most of us, June marks the start of the summer season. Our youth get out of school. We get out of the house off on vacations to the beach or the mountains or to see relatives or to places we’ve never been. We look forward to fresh corn, tomatoes, melons, squash, beans, peppers, and other vegetables. We fire up the grill or stoke a fire in the pit to serve up meats kissed with our favorite smokes—mesquite, oak, hickory, cherry, and apple woods. We have many opportunities to show love like Jesus is talking about.
To love like Jesus is to invest in those around you wherever you are, whenever you are with them. On vacation, will we venture to strike up a meaningful conversation with that parent who looks like they are struggling? Will we share the produce of our gardens with that neighbor who is living off food stamps? Will we invite those we don’t know well to our backyard parties so that we might get to know them? There are so many ways we can love like Jesus.
How about us as a church? As we make plans for the summer and for the fall, how can Friedens show the people of Gibsonville that we care about them—that Jesus cares about them? I’d like to invite you to look around, dream a little, and share with me your ideas how we can reach out to the people of Gibsonville. You can text me or leave a voice mail message at 336-693-7000. I’ll look forward to hearing your ideas. May we not only kick off the start of the summer season, may we also kick off the start of showing and sharing Jesus’ love in a fresh, new way.
Please take a moment to answer: on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being low and 10 being high, how would you rank your relationship with Jesus?
How did you do? Is there some room for growth? If so, how are you going to spend your summer intentionally taking some steps to grow in your faith walk with Jesus?
Lutherans like you and I always begin a journey like this remembering who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us. We just observed Jesus’ death for us on the cross on Good Friday. Sin is the taking of life. We take a life every time our words and actions hurt others to their demise. The price of taking a life is lifeblood. Jesus willingly shed his blood and paid with his life so that we did not have to pay this debt. This is Jesus’ gift to us. We also celebrated Easter where we discovered an empty tomb, a risen Savior, and God’s forever love given to us as a gift as well.
Responding to our Savior’s death and resurrection, we look to take steps to grow in faith. So if you responded to the question above with a 9 or 10, congratulations—share your faith walk by walking beside another person with a lesser score. We need mentors. But if you are like me—on good days an 8, on bad days a 2– let’s be intentional this summer to grow closer to Jesus.
Read your Bible and share what you are thinking about what you read with another person. Don’t worry about being theologically right or deep. Just share and invite another to think and share along with you. Vow to never say, “I’ll pray for you.” Instead, go ahead, right then and there, to pray with and for the person. Dare to post a spiritual reflection on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, WhatsApp, QQ, WeChat, Reddit, etc,…with pictures, commentary, &/or video. Read this newsletter with a calendar in hand and make plans on participating in as much as you can to be around people who can help you grow in your walk with Jesus.
God’s grace inspire you to go deeper with our Lord,
Last night at choir practice we began looking at a piece we will sing at Easter. While it felt weird to even say Allelujah during Lent, our quiet Allelujahs as we prepared the music were a welcome relief from a season that is filled with somber, even dark, moments. This month the journey with Jesus comes to an end…the holy supper of Maundy Thursday, the raw human emotions of Good Friday, the grieving agony of Holy Saturday. We accompany our Lord and witness his death. But that is not the end of his story…or ours.
The love story between our Father and humanity continues because our Father’s love for you is continual. God’s love never ceases. God’s love brings new life, resurrection life, to Christ Jesus. And the GREAT news is that God in love brings new life, resurrection life, to you. God wants your witness to his moving in your life to be—what once was dead is not alive. God wants to bring new life to the dark, dead, lifeless parts of your life.
In this newsletter are opportunities to experience and share the new life found in Jesus. I pray you will take advantage of the moments you have to grow in love with our Lord and grow your faith in him. It’s Easter. And may the joy of our living Lord fill you with love, peace, and hope.
Pastor Bill Zima